Lismore 2-18 Ballygunner 4-12
Ballygunner had to come from behind with a last-gasp equaliser to tie up today’s exciting Waterford senior hurling final against Lismore in Walsh Park. Lismore, who have never before beaten Ballygunner in the championship, were never led in this game and may feel that they left their first title since 1993 behind them.
As for the semi-final two weeks ago, the newly relaid Walsh Park pitch was not up to standard which had a significant impact on the overall quality of hurling in this game. The game itself turned into something of a contest between Ballygunner veteran Paul Flynn, who ended up with 1-9, and Lismore youngster Maurice Shanahan who scored all but one of his eleven points from frees, most of them for fouls on himself.
Lismore were much the stronger in the early stages of the game and led 1-5 to 0-2 after ten minutes, the goal coming from centre forward Stephen O’Keeffe having been put in by Dan Shanahan, operating at full forward. Some excellent fielding by centre back Fergal Hartley and the switching of Andy Moloney back into defence helped steady the Ballygunner ship, but they were dealt a further hammer blow when Lismore corner forward Paudie Prendergast got on the end of a long delivery from out the field to finish past Stephen O’Keeffe. However, the Gunners were handed a lifeline just before half time when Paul Flynn hammered a penalty to the net after Gearóid O’Connor was fouled inside the large square, leaving the half time score at 2-9 to 1-6 in favour of Lismore.
Lismore started the second half well but were shocked by a brace of goals from Gearóid O’Connor and Shane O’Sullivan, both set up by Paul Flynn who was in rare form here. Lismore kept plugging away, mainly through Maurice Shanahan’s unerring freetaking and some excellent points from play by big brother Dan. However, a fourth Ballygunner goal from Paudie Mahony brought the sides to parity after 50 minutes. Lismore came back to again go three points ahead for what looked like a winning lead, but three pointed frees from Flynn, the last with the second last puck of the game, means the teams will have to do it all over again at the same venue next Saturday.
It was a pacy and well-contested game in which there were few star performances. Apart from Maurice and Dan Shanahan, centre back and captain Shane Kearney was probably Lismore’s top player. In addition to Paul Flynn and Fergal Hartley, Shane Walsh repeatedly caught the eye for the Gunners at wing back.
Teams: Lismore Brendan Landers, Eoin Bennett, James O’Connor, Shane Bennett, David O’Gorman, Shane Kearney, Paul Fennessy, John Prendergast, David Howard (0-1), Maurice Shanahan (0-11), Stephen O’Keeffe (1-0), Dave Bennett (0-1), Paudie Prendergast (1-1), Dan Shanahan (0-3), Chris O’Gorman (0-1). Substitutes Tom O’Brien for J O’Connor, Kevin Power for John Prendergast, James O’Connor for Paudie Prendergast.
Ballygunner: Stephen O’Keeffe, Alan Kirwan, Willie Kiely, Philip Mahony, Shane Walsh, Fergal Hartley, Wayne Hutchinson, Tommy Power, Colin Kehoe (0-1), Paudie Mahony (1-0), Shane O’Sullivan (1-1), Andy Moloney, Brian O’Sullivan (0-1), Paul Flynn (1-9), Gearóid O’Connor (1-0). Substitute Stephen Power for Brian O’Sullivan
Replay is next Saturday at 4pm – and that’s official.